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Tour pro DQ’d from Honda Classic after his green-book was deemed too big under the new rules of golf

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While Thursday’s opening round of the Honda Classic saw Rickie Fowler poke some fun at the rules of golf in an amusing way, it also saw a disqualification which has the unfortunate title of being the first DQ of its kind since the updated rules of golf came in to play.

Alex Cejka is the professional in question, who was deemed to have been using a green-book which did not adhere to the new rules of golf. Cejka had been using last year’s green-book for the Honda Classic throughout the opening round, which contained larger scales of diagrams of the greens than are now allowed on the PGA Tour.

Following the DQ, PGA Tour rules official Robby Ware who informed Cejka of the decision after his 14th hole of the day, stated (per a Golfweek report)

“It was brought to the committee’s attention that Alex might possibly be using some old greens reading materials. Alex was basically using an old yardage book and old greens reading materials that did not fit the size to scale limit. He knew he was using an old book. He told me that. I don’t know that he was completely understanding of what the scale limits are.”

The issue was brought to Cejka’s attention by playing partner Cameron Tringale who noticed the old green-book which the 48-year-old was using, and the latter then called in an official.

Speaking after completing his round, Tringale said

“I saw it and told my caddie. I mentioned it to (Cejka) but was unfamiliar how exactly to proceed. I told the first official I saw what I had seen. I was perplexed. That doesn’t look right. Did I really see that? When we finished the 14th hole, I went to use the bathroom and when I came out I saw (Cejka) riding off in a cart.”

Interestingly, the green-reading book which Cejka had been using during the opening round detailed the greens of PGA National before they were re-vamped following last year’s Honda Classic.

Cejka was level par for his round, and before his DQ, the longest putt he made was from 8′ 6″ on his third hole of the day. Tringale and Palmer completed their opening round of the Honda Classic as a two ball, finishing their rounds one-under par and level par respectively.

 

 

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Dan Powers

    Mar 1, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    So the guy who made the report just happened to go to the bathroom when the rules official shows up? Riiiiiight.

  2. Seth Riser

    Mar 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    USGA has nothing better to do than turn golf courses into goat tracks and dream up goofy rules. That’s does it – I’m giving my tour card back.

  3. Brad

    Mar 1, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Hello PGA, it’s reality calling. Time to dump your decrepit and extremely out of touch friend the USGA. They are destroying you with their bad ideas and senile decision making. Save yourself before it’s too late…

  4. Tiger Noods

    Mar 1, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Another USGA farce.

    What should have happened is like all tournaments, they should provide a book. Every morning, they should provide a pin sheet. All players can work off of those books, because they are the size they are, and players don’t need to bring their own. In fact, on course, they should all be given a “standard”, and they all work from that if they choose.

    Personally, I’d like to see them have lasers so the caddies don’t have to do so much math.

  5. Terry Johnson

    Mar 1, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Pros are playing for so much money they have gotten slower and slower reading books of info,taking everything like wind,conditions,slope, grain,mountains. Eliminate books get electric caddies and let the players figure the conditions like the average golfer. All the aids these pros have today just slow the play down. Give the player a laser and a bag of clubs. Let them figure all this info out with the brain that god gave them and give them a set time to make a shot. Wake up.

  6. dixiedoc

    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:52 am

    The rules are the rules. In any other sport when the rules are changed every professional is aware and either complies or is penalized. It doesn’t take long to read the new rules. If he or his caddie didn’t then they are the ones who are at fault not the USGA. Yes, it’s the USGA that makes the rules not the PGA so don’t blame them.

  7. Dave r

    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Why not just play golf? I used to watch golf on a Thursday to sun . Now I watch the highlights on sports net.the stuff that goes on the course is mind blowing. Yardage books ,green books, balls with lines, some players taking what seems like a month to figure out the wind , slope, elevation, uphill downhill, clouds going the wrong way, the grass is wet or dry. Now add in the new rules you lost me . Can’t wait for the highlites on sports net. These rules officials have ruined the game how about speeding up play there’s a thought you should discuss. When you do I’ll start to watch again, until then have a lovely day.

    • frank cichon

      Mar 1, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      I agree with you 100 per cent. I would like to see a Tour where the player can use range finders, but the first player has say 45 seconds to hit and the next 40. If you hit it off the fairway you get NO FREE RELIEF PERIOD. YOU HIT IT THERE, YOU PLAY IT! If winds are an issue Tough…same for everybody …rub of the green. Each group could have 2 scorers and time every player. No green books …..some guys take as long as 15 seconds just to pick up their marker because the LINE on the ball is not aligned right. Int is PAINFUL to watch. IF I watch any golf it is with my PVR…but your idea of just watching the sports on the 11 pm news has just saved me several hours per week .Thank!

      • bob carroll

        Mar 1, 2019 at 8:22 pm

        sounds like european golf.played the old course, foursome on every hole, your butt better be thru in 3 1/2 hours, no exceptions.

    • D

      Mar 1, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      Yeah but I bet you sit there on your fat arse watching 4 NFL matches on Sunday though, huh
      How many dumb rules does that game have? It still uses the yardage chain ffs

      • beer belly bob

        Mar 1, 2019 at 2:26 pm

        What is an NFL match? Is that something you watch while sipping tea and eating crumpets?

  8. JP

    Mar 1, 2019 at 10:56 am

    And he pays his caddie how much? Shouldn’t he know the rule too?

  9. Joe

    Mar 1, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Sue them under the ADA that he can’t use the new smaller books because he can’t read them… What a farce….

    • Mower

      Mar 1, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      I had to re-read that headline – what the actual f*$#@?
      The green-reading book is too big or it’s last year’s version… why is this a f*#[email protected] issue? Who needs to be punched in the face for making this a rule?

  10. dat

    Mar 1, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Incredibly stupid all around. Golf is becoming a real pain to watch on TV with all of these stupid rule changes. Constantly mentioning them, let alone the enforcement of them, is distracting from the actual game.

  11. Drew

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Why does information not have a place in the game?

    • Brian

      Mar 1, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      Because reading a green is supposed to be a skill. Mapping every contour of the green in a book should be outlawed.

  12. jeff

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Tringale the snitch

  13. Ray

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Pretty funny that what he was DQ’d for was a out of date green book since they changed the greens after last year’s Honda Open. How much did they change because it certainly shouldn’t have been helping him, right?

  14. Travis

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Just be done with green books altogether. Be done with lines on the golf ball too for that matter. Green reading and aiming your putt (just like aiming all other shots in golf) should be a skill.

    On the greens is the most significant area of the game the USGA can speed up play for Pros and Ams.

    • aplynam

      Mar 1, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Let’s just do away with greens altogether and putt to a hole dug out with a spade by the “greens” keeper.

    • sal

      Mar 1, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      I agree, totally. Make the game pure again and speed it up before golf is gone.

  15. youraway

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:48 am

    The Rule on greens reading material should be even stronger and a good decision was rendered, he should receive a DQ penalty. Oh yes, a professional would’t want to actually understand the Rules of the game they play, would they?

  16. alexdub

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Classless move by Tringale, IMO. Turning in someone for such a minor (and new) infraction goes against the spirit of the rules of golf. This is not even remotely close to something that you “call in an official” for. Let the round complete and talk to the committee afterwards if you’re that bent up about it.

  17. DB

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:44 am

    This is actually a good rule change. Tired of seeing players unfold their intricately detailed green-reading map before making a putt. Study that stuff before the round if you want, but it has no place in actually playing the game. Glad they are enforcing this rule.

    • Joe

      Mar 1, 2019 at 10:54 am

      Serious question, I’d be curious if before the round started they could mark up a pin location sheet with slopes near the hole…

  18. Jerome

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Tringale is a NARC!

    USGA rules are a joke!

    Warriors blew a 3-1 LEAD!

  19. Erik Morden

    Mar 1, 2019 at 7:22 am

    This is just another example of the PGA worrying about small things like a caddy standing behind a player before he lines up for his shot or the distance a player drops a ball. Why are we not seeing stories about PGA officials clamping down on players that take a lifetime to take a shot? If they are so worried about these new rules why don’t we start enforcing the time limit rules?

    • kevin

      Mar 1, 2019 at 8:40 am

      having a caddie line up the player isn’t a small thing. it was a time waster and an awful look.

      dropping from knee height is dumb and an equally dumb look. i get the intent of the rule, and its still dumb. the difference in height will affect a handful of drops over the course of the season.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2021 Travelers Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week under the red umbrella at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.

We got an in-hand look at Titleist’s new T100, T100S, and U 505 irons as the company began tour seeding of the next generation of  T-Series wares this week.

We also got in-hand looks at Rickie Fowler’s Scotty Cameron flatsticks and Hank Lebioda and Cam Smith’s absolutely filthy looking prototype black T100 irons.

Oh, and we spotted Dustin Johnson returning to his immortal beloved (for the pro-am at least) Fujikura shaft.

Links to all our photos, below.

Special galleries

General galleries

Join the discussion in the GolfWRX forums. 

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Equipment

Inside Jon Rahm’s putter switch before U.S. Open win

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report

His 18-foot, curling left-to-righter breaks toward the hole, eyes locked on its path, Jon Rahm raises his Odyssey Rossie S putter and unleashes jubilant fist pump as his ball dives into the darkness.

We’ve seen the highlight how many times in the handful of days that have passed since that putt clinched Rahm’s U.S. Open victory?

It’s hard to imagine after seeing the confidence and firm conviction the ball would roll inevitably into the hole Rahm displayed on Torrey Pines’ 17th and 18th greens, Sunday, that the world No. 1 only switched into the flatstick the tournament prior to the U.S. Open. It’s surprising, too, that the mid-mallet model he settled on was a significant departure from the gigantic rear-center of gravity, high MOI mallet he had been using for months.

So, how did we get here? How did Rahmbo look more like 2008 Sunday Tiger Woods on the 72nd at Torrey Pines and less like a golfer who was so frustrated with his putting he went back to the drawing board less than a month ago?

The week prior to the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, Rahm visited with Callaway head of tour operations Tim Reed and Odyssey rep Joe Toulon at the Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, California, to test putters. There, Rahm was most intrigued by an Odyssey Rossie S mid-mallet putter. He remained happy with the Microhinge Star insert that had been, well, inserted into his 2-Ball Ten at the PGA Championship, so Toulon and company had the Rossie built with the Microhinge.

After evaluation on SAM PuttLab and Quintic (two putting analysis systems), it was clear the Rossie performed better than the higher-MOI, rear-CG 2-Ball Ten he had been putting with since joining Callaway’s tour staff in January. And as evidenced by his barnstorming three rounds at the Memorial Tournament and his clutch putt-filled win at the U.S. Open, the Spaniard’s putting performance was indeed elevated.

For the inside story of Rahm’s Rossie S, GolfWRX spoke with Odyssey tour rep Joe Toulon.

GolfWRX: When Rahm signed with Callaway, he was using a putter that looked very much like the Odyssey 2-Ball Ten he ultimately put in the bag. It intuitively made sense that’d be his choice, but he switched to a different putter at the Memorial. Why?

Joe Toulon: When he came into our putter studio in January, he hadn’t really been putting great. He was anxious to get into something. We had, probably, 20 putters made up for him, and the whole time, we were thinking the 2-Ball Ten with the S-neck would be the winner because it was similar to what he was using coming in.

But through that process, you have to listen to what the player is saying and how they’re saying it. He was struggling with setup and how his putter sat on the ground…and he found himself fidgeting.

In his college days, he used a 2-Ball. So the 2-Ball Ten, the way it sat on the ground for him was the reason he gravitated toward that. He felt comfortable with it…and with his path, he squared it up a little bit more and hit more putts in the center of the face.

The last thing we did with that putter was change to a White Hot insert. He’s such a feel player, and he told us that White Hot felt good at impact.

So that’s what he switched to at the Farmers Insurance Open and used through the PGA Championship.

Read the rest of the piece on PGATour.com.

*Featured image via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder

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Ways to Win: Karma (and ball striking) – Rahm outlasts the field at Torrey

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It took four days, but a U.S. Open broke out on the back nine Sunday at Torrey Pines. A stacked leaderboard turned into a bloodbath as a who’s who of golf crumbled under the weight of trying to win a U.S. Open at the iconic Torrey Pines.

  • Brooks Koepka had it -4 before bogeying two of the last three holes.
  • Bryson DeChambeau took a share of the lead on 10 before a back-nine 44!
  • Collin Morikawa saw his hopes dashed with a bad double on the par-5 13th.
  • Rory McIlroy looked like it might be his to win until going bogey-double early on the back 9.

In the end, it was a two-horse race between Jon Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen. Oosthuizen played it calm and collected throughout the entire back nine, holding a two-stroke lead for much of it until Rahm did the unthinkable. It’s hard not to feel for Oosthuizen, constantly the bridesmaid and never the bride with so many second-place finishes in majors, but Louis did not lose the tournament as much as Rahm stole it with two clutch putts in the biggest moment. This is not the first time we’ve seen Rahm bury a long putt at Torrey. Rahm’s tournament will likely be largely remembered for those two putts, huge breaking left to righters that would have gone into a thimble they were so pure.

Leveraging putting analysis from V1 Game, Rahm is certainly not the best putter on tour. He does have a knack for rolling in the big ones. Rahm lost strokes to the field in 4 of the distance buckets, particularly closer to the hole where he only made 69% of his putts from 4-6ft. Easy to do on fast, bumpy poa annua greens. He excelled at the mid range putts where he gained a half a stroke per round on the field. For the week, he finished 21st in the field in putting. However, this was largely due to making 45 feet of putts in his last two holes! Had he failed to hole those putts he would have finished closer to 35th.

While Rahm’s putting performance certainly closed the door for Rahm and forced Oosthuizen’ hand into making a mistake on 17, it wasn’t necessarily his putting that put Rahm in position to win. So how did Rahm get it done?

V1 Game’s Strokes Gained stacked analysis shows how Jon Rahm performed round by round. Aggregating his performance for the primary strokes gained categories:

  • Driving: +5.2
  • Approach: +4.6
  • Short: +3.2
  • Putting: +0.7
  • Tee2Green: +13.0

Putting closed the deal, but Rahm separates himself from the field with ball striking. Rahm is long off the tee and gained the most strokes with his driving where he finished 5th in Strokes Gained Driving. Now, you might think that means he was also accurate. US Open’s do put a premium on accuracy after all with long penal rough. However, a quick glance at the players that hit the most fairways would reveal that fairways were not necessarily the route to success at this US Open. The players that finished highest on the leaderboard did not excel in fairways.

Like Jon Rahm, they tended to bomb it and make sure to miss in good places, whether that be fairway bunkers or on the safe side of the fairway. In fact, Rahm finished 28th for fairways hit. When the fairways are only 20 yards wide, everybody is going to struggle to hit them, so you might as well hit it far. Jon Rahm did that, finishing 12th for the week in driving distance. Pair that with accurate iron shots and a short game that rivals fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros and you have a dangerous combination.

In the end, the U.S. Open is about avoiding mistakes and big numbers. Rahm did that making just a single double bogey for the week. V1 Game’s Virtual Coach shows just how close Rahm was to maximizing his potential averaging just 1.1 mistakes per round, where mistakes are 3 putts, penalty / recovery shots, and two chips. Rahm only 3 putted twice for the week and not at all on the final day.

It sounds foolish to say after Rahm made two bombs to win the tournament, but if Jon should work on anything, it would be putting. Had he eliminated the two 3 putts or been better from inside seven feet, he would have never had to make the putts on the last to win the championship. Every shot counts.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Jon Rahm’s game is not even captured by the above analytics and strokes gained. It could be his mental side. After a topsy turvy couple weeks, which included being forced to withdraw with a 6 shot lead at the Memorial, Rahm showed extreme poise and patience. The Twitter world was ablaze with opinions of unfairness in the face of COVID concerns. Instead of becoming bitter or angry, Rahm accepted that it was for the best and turned it into motivation to win an even greater championship. Personally, I entered this week not being a big Rahm fan and left the weekend truly admiring him. Not only is he a phenomenal golfer, but he seems like an even better human, with amazing perspective for a young phenom.

If you want to play like Rahm, V1 Game can help you understand what you need to work on to get better at any age and any skill level. Keep in mind that golf can be a confusing game. Many would have left the weekend thinking Jon Rahm won the golf tournament because of his putting. However, analytics and tools like V1 Game show us otherwise. Knowing what to work on is the first step to playing to your potential. Win your own US Open with V1 Game.

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